I am writing this post through a wave of emotion which some may refer to as grief. I am not happy with this grief malarchy so I have coined a new term for how I am feeling. I am going to call it “Wow” rather than grief. It hurts like hell which is the “ow” part but it also has the “W” in front of it because its Wordly and its Wondrous. It is self discovery and it is that self in the World discovered. I’m starting to find my place in this magnificent World having been lost in its abundance for some time. Thank you to the Wows for opening my eyes.
It’s remarkable how many new channels have opened up and how receptive I currently am to them. Family, friends, fellow baby loss sufferers, intensive care buddies, books, podcasts, quotes, philosophy, psychology, poetry, music, art – I can take so much more in and more importantly, make some sense of it. Over the course of the pregnancy and first month as a new parent I have learnt more than I have learnt in my lifetime. This may not have been that hard to achieve (!) as school and university passed me by almost in their entirety. I was an observer, watching and joyfully sharing in my peers’ academic successes but failing to find a path of my own through the chronic anxiety that books, essays, deadlines and dreaded examinations fuelled. I was lucky, however, to have subconsciously benefited from the gift of an incredible education. Education is a gift – I realise this more than ever when we look at a world where for many, education is the biggest restriction to progression, particularly when that education is further restricted by gender. I was fortunate enough to go to a powerfully academic secondary all girls school in London. It wasn’t best suited to my nature – I’m probably more of a tea, biscuits and cuddles kind of girl than a reciting Virgil backwards in Japanese for fun at the weekends type. However, in watching these child geniuses at work, a conundrum began to develop in my head. I was a maternal being from the outset but this was not cool at school. I couldn’t put my hand up in careers forums and announce proudly, “I want be a mummy”. I am also fully aware that it is, among other things, not financially viable to be a stay at home mummy without relying on somebody else to pick up an overly substantial share of the working burden or moving to the middle of nowhere and living off the fat of the land – a dream but in reality probably complete hell for somebody like me, who has lived in central London for 30 years. The “among other things” includes the fact that being on the receiving end of a fantastic education with outstanding opportunity seems somewhat redundant if you end up singing row row row your boat and probably sailing off with said boat down the stream into baby brain oblivion. But, how do we “have it all”. We don’t. But I do have one tiny baby in the stars, a tiny baby on Earth who has defied science in the womb and survived a ridiculously arduous start to life; a husband who I am lucky enough to remain in a close and loving relationship with despite the stresses and strains this year has brought and who has gone back to work for us at this time to enable me to be with Constance full time for now and an exceedingly supportive family and friends network. When I need to to go back to work for financial necessity and for my own personal progression and acknowledgement of the Katie within the mummy of Faith and Constance, I will, safe in the knowledge that you can’t have it all but you can have some of each part – and the sum of the parts becomes the whole.
Through my teens and 20s I struggled to make sense of who I was or where I wanted to go. Ultimately I should have looked to the beginning when it was all so simple. I, like many little girls, was a fully committed mother to 3 dollies. Georgina (rather on the large side…would we call her chubby?!!) and then, somewhat ironically, twins named Ben and Rebecca who also, somewhat ironically, happened to be on the minute side. I spent hours upon hours explaining to my imaginary mummy friends that though there was an obvious size difference, they were, in fact, all the same age. This is probably something I will have to spend many more hours explaining when tiny Constance comes home and we start venturing out into the World. Its funny how life brings you full circle! I mention this because finally I feel, for now, right where I should be. Although it is, at times, immensely painful and the journey that Fred and I have been on over this past year has been far from plain sailing, it has certainly shown us the way – rather strongly, I might add, but maybe its exactly what we needed to face life as it is, wake us up and shift us onto the path we were destined to follow.
Constance is 4 weeks old. She has upped sticks and moved into a little plastic tub with a heated mattress and importantly with no roof so we can now touch, kiss, stroke and cuddle her to our hearts content without the barrier to entry that the incubator sadly created. This is a huge step forward as it also means she is mostly managing to regulate her own temperature. She is humbly working her way past the 2 and a half pound mark which we hope will reach 3 come her Sunday weigh in. The doctors, nurses and support workers remain exceptional with their devoted care and love for our family.
As a parting gift, have a listen to this song which always makes me smile and move my body in uncontrollable ways! I hope it does the same for you – turn up the volume!
THANK YOU for reading, listening and for your endless love and support